What's Ricciardos next big move?
With a contract buyout seeming inevitable, what should Ricciardo do to keep his racing career afloat?
McLarens deal with Daniel Ricciardo, meant to last until 2023, seems to be being cut short by the Formula 1 team to make room for eager up and coming driver Oscar Piastri. With rumors that Ricciardo is now demanding a 21 million dollar buyout, it now seems like both parties are looking to end this contract early, but what does this mean for the racing future of the Australian driver. Entering the sport in 2011 and obtaining his first full season seat in 2012, Ricciardo is a well cemented piece of the sport, with the statistics to back his longevity up, with 8 wins, 32 podiums, 3 pole positions, and 16 fastest laps. These statistics would be something that another team sees and is more than willing to drop money to have Daniel as a driver. But the question everyone seems to be asking right now, as no team has any real interest in Ricciardo is, where can he go?
With Piastri being all but confirmed to McLaren, this leaves his former contracted team, Alpine, in a tough spot. Being down two drivers, also having lost Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin in a shock move. It seems as though Ricciardo can be in the running for Alpines second seat, being in contention with other racing drivers Zhou Guanyu, Theo Pourchaire, or Mick Schumacher, all of whom offer a younger, longer potential as opposed to Ricciardos well cemented statistics.
Outside of Formula 1, multiple racing series offer a quality alternative for Daniel to race in. American outfit Arrow McLaren SP could be a quality move for the Aussie, although with the downside of the team likely saying goodbye to their driver Felix Rosenqvist, which they might not be too keen on unless Ricciardo comes up with something that proves he's worthy of Felix's seat. Alternatively, as he has voiced an interest in NASCAR, being a longstanding supporter of the racing series. Teams in the NASCAR series would surely be eager to sign Ricciardo, giving him many options there. Given he were to make a move to NASCAR, he would be joining the likes of former F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Räikkönen.
Regardless of where he goes or how he is currently performing at the McLaren F1 Team, we can say that he has has a remarkable career and certainly left his mark in F1, both in the sport and in its community. And wherever he goes next, whether it would be to another team or to another racing series, his electric personalty and unique driving style will surely follow suit.